If you've bought only a few packs of Allen & Ginter over the past decade, you know the brand isn't just about baseball. Subjects can come from virtually anywhere. Myths, bugs, world leaders, dogs and "magic beans" are just a few of the things that have been in the product that have nothing to do with America's pastime. The autographs follow a similar pattern, mixing in champions from other sports (the stranger the better) and pop culture.
The 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter non-baseball autographs bring that same eclectic feel, although there are some definite patterns and themes. ESPN writers and personalities take up several slots in the set this year, as do authors from other areas. There are also several comedians.
Announced earlier, Rocky autographs are another big part of the 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter autographs. Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren and Hulk Hogan all have signed cards featuring their characters from the iconic boxing franchise.
Below is a detailed list of the non-baseball autographs from 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball. As usual, for many, you may not recognize their name but may be familiar with some of their accomplishments.
2015 Topps Allen & Ginter Non-Baseball Autographs Guide
Please note the details on the handful of basketball players in the set are not included below. Click on the listing or image to shop for cards on eBay.
Aaron Paul was one of several big autograph holes in Cryptozoic's Breaking Bad release. The actor, best known for playing Jesse Pinkman on the show (unless you remember his appearance on The Price Is Right), is one of the top non-baseball autographs in the product.
Sometimes it seems like Allen & Ginter has slots for specific types of signers, kind of like reality TV shows with character types. Buck 65 takes over for Snoop Lion as the hip-hop artist for 2015. The Canadian probably has more critical acclaim than mainstream popularity.
You know him as a member of the New York Yankees. But did you know Bernie Williams is also a jazz musician with a couple of albums to his name? Rather than have him with his Yankees pinstripes, the 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball Bernie Williams autograph highlights his second career. Besides the signed card, there's also a guitar pick relic in the product.
Buster Olney is the head baseball writer at ESPN so his inclusion is a natural fit. He's one of several personalities from the company that has been featured in Allen & Ginter over the years. In fact, he's not the only one in this set.
Collectively, Brian Quinn, Joe Gatto, James Murray and Sal Vulcano are known as The Tenderloins. Besides their live shows, they star, write, produce and hold down just about all of the big roles for the TV show Impractical Jokers, which airs on TruTV.
Brody Stevens is another comedian to grace the 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter Autographs checklist. In addition to making the rounds as a stand-up, he's appeared on Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O'Brien and Tosh.0. Stevens also had roles in the first two Hangover movies.
Another member of the ESPN team in the set, Brian Windhorst focuses on basketball. His career has been linked to that of LeBron James. He started as a beat writer covering the Cavs for the Akron Beacon Journal during James' rookie season. He moved to the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2008 before taking his talents to ESPN when LeBron took his game to South Beach.
Your kids might recognize David Cross as the villain in the
epic Chipmunk trilogy. However, the actor is probably best known as Tobias in Arrested Development, which just so happens to have a set of trading cards coming. Cross has an autograph card in the Archer set from Cryptozoic.
Darren Rovell makes it an ESPN trinity for the 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball Autographs. When he's not looking at ballpark cuisine, Rovell is usually breaking down the numbers on the business side of sports.
Frank Caliendo has held many roles over the years. The comedian has had stints on both MadTV and FOX NFL Sunday. Caliendo is probably best known for his impersonations.
Rewind 15 years and Gabe Kapler was considered to be one of baseball's most promising prospects. Although he had a couple of decent seasons, his playing career didn't play out like some might have expected. Although Kapler is with the Dodgers organization now as Director of Player Development, he's in the set from his time as an analyst with FOX.
Gus Malzahn is the head coach of the Auburn football team. Malzahn took over the Tigers in 2013 after the team failed to win a SEC game the previous season. He led the team to the SEC title during his first year. Under Malzahn, Auburn made to it the BCS Championship in 2014.
Dolph Lundgren is one of three Rocky-themed autographs in 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter. What makes these a little bit different is that they're fully licensed and the actors appear on the cards as their iconic characters. For Lundgren, it's Ivan Drago, the Russian machine who took Rocky into the Cold War in Rocky IV.
Allen & Ginter is home to some of the hobby's strangest oddities. It's safe to say that Incredibeard fits under that category.
When it comes to play-by-play announcers, Joe Buck is a biggie. At this point, he's no Vin Scully, but there's no denying his impressive resumé, which includes the lead spot at FOX for both baseball and football.
It's safe to say that Jimbo Fisher is one of the top coaches in college football today. He led Jameis Winston and the Florida State Seminoles to a National Championship in 2013 with a perfect 14-0 record. The school is the three-time reigning ACC champs under Fisher as well.
Throughout the 1990s and into the new millennium, Julie Foudy was one of the top U.S. women's soccer players. While the sport is seeing lots of growth now, in many regards, Foudy can be seen as someone who helped paved the way for many of today's women's soccer stars.
When it comes to great baseball books of the last decade or so that aren't strictly biographies, Jonah Keri's name is on there. The Extra 2% was a New York Times best seller that delved into the rise of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008. Keri followed that up with Up, Up and Away, a book on the history of the Montreal Expos, the team he grew up cheering for.
Following in the footsteps of Guy Fieri in 2011 comes reality TV cook, Jeff Mauro. After taking home the title of Food Network Star during the show's seventh season, Mauro hosted Sandwich Kings, among others.
Not only was Jeremy Roenick one of the top players in the NHL for much of his 20-year career, he also had one of the league's biggest personalities. His 513 career goals ranks him as one of the top-scoring American players of all-time.
In case you haven't noticed, there's a definite theme of sports writers on the 2015 Allen & Ginter Autographs checklist. Keith Law joins several other ESPN members. He's a senior baseball writer for the media giant.
At its roots, Allen & Ginter celebrates champions. Still in her early twenties, Kelia Moniz has already won a pair of surfing world championships.
Lakey Peterson is another surfer in this year's set. She not only ranks as one of the best in her sport in North America, but the entire world.
The ESPN domination continues. Michelle Beadle is one of the network's most recognizable personalities. She's worked her way up the ranks, starting with fringe sports like rodeo and has crossed over into reporting for both the sports and entertainment arenas.
Author Malcolm Gladwell has a knack for taking big, complex ideas and making entertaining essays and books out of them. The Tipping Point, Outliers and Blink are just some of his massive best sellers.
Rower Megan Kalmoe won a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics in London for quadruple sculls. She also took home silver medals for events in both the 2011 and 2014 world championships.
By name, you might not recognize Mike Mills by name. However, you might know the band he used to play bass for -- R.E.M.
If it seems like every other 2015 Allen & Ginter non-baseball autograph is either someone from ESPN or a comedian, you're not alone. Paul Scheer is one of the latter. He's appeared in a lot of movies and shows over the years including The League and Fresh Off the Boat. Scheer will also be a regular in the Wet Hot American Summer revival on Netflix.
Rocky Balboa is one of the most important characters in the history of sports movies. Not only is he the titular character of a classic movie that spawned a franchise, but Balboa is symbolic of the American Dream. Stallone signs as the fictional boxer. He signed original Rocky cards as buybacks in 2013 Topps 75th Anniversary (as well as Rambo cards). Collectors can also find Stallone autographs in 2015 Panini Americana. However, this is the first time he's signed new cards from the movie.
Diet trends have a history of making celebrities out of people. Robb Wolf might not rank as high as Jenny Craig on the niche A-list, but chances are you've at least heard of his Paleo program.
AGA-TH Hulk Hogan as Thunderlips - Wrestler (Red Ink version shown)
This isn't your average Hulk Hogan autograph card. The wresting legend puts Hulkamania on hold, signing as Thunderlips from Rocky III. In wrestling circles, few are bigger than Hulk Hogan. He was the face of the WWF when the company rose to international prominence during the 1980s. Hogan continues to draw the nostalgia cheer whenever he pops up on TV.
Throughout much of the 1990s, Val Kilmer was part of Hollywood's A-list. He took over for Michael Keaton as Batman in Batman Forever. He held his own alongside Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in Heat. He stole the show as Doc Holliday in Tombstone. And if you roll back to the 1980s, who can forget Kilmer as Iceman in Top Gun.
Zach Lowe's biography reads writer and basketball analyst for Grantland -- a company owned by ESPN.
Does this list impress you? Which, if any, of the 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter Autographs are you planning on chasing?
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